by Palo Alto Weekly staff / Palo Alto Weekly
Palo Alto’s Rinconada Library is closed to allow a pest control company to treat a small area within the library where bed bugs were found during a canine inspection on Tuesday, Sept. 29. Photo by Veronica Weber.
The inspection was prompted after bed bugs were found on two chairs on the first floor of the Mitchell Park Library on Sept. 23.
The bed bugs discovered at the Rinconada branch on Newell Road were also found in two chairs within the library. The library will reopen at 10 a.m. on Thursday, Oct. 1.
Inspectors will treat the furniture and surrounding surfaces, and will return seven to 10 days after to ensure the treatment was successful.
Bed bugs are not an uncommon occurrence at libraries as they can be transported through the sharing of books, according to the city. Mitchell Park Library shares books within a large region and through the LinkAges system.
Four other city libraries were inspected, including the Children’s Library and College Terrace Library, which were free of bed bugs. The Downtown Library will be closed on Friday, Oct. 2, to allow for inspection and Mitchell Park Library will be reinspected next week.
On Monday, Assistant City Manager Suzanne Mason said the city is sending bug-sniffing dogs to all libraries “out of an abundance of caution.”
“This is a common protocol and we also asked the pest contractor to inspect recent book returns as well,” Mason said. “While we have not had this problem in our libraries before, it has become more common in the past five years in libraries around the country.”
Formerly known as Main Library, the Rinconada Library reopened to the public earlier this year after an extensive renovation and expansion. Both the Rinconada project and the newly built Mitchell Park branch were funded through a $76-million bond Palo Alto voters passed in 2008.
The canines will continue to inspect the libraries on an ongoing basis, according to the city.